November 17, 2009

One of the Greatest Men I Know

has returned to his Father in Heaven.

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Acadian Village in Louisiana - 2006



I guess most people enter marriage with a little fear and trepidation over the in-law situation. I dated my husband for so long that I had plenty of time to get to know Tom & Lois Freeman. I had time to figure out that they were the reason my husband was a good man. They are good people, and being related to them has made my life better.

Tom and Lois fell in love over 61 years ago. She wouldn't marry him unless he was a member of her faith, so he decided to investigate it. Soon after, he was baptized a member of the LDS church and they married in the Temple. Together, they built a very happy life. Materially, they were comfortable, but if a man's wealth is measured in friends, loved ones and laughter, they were rich as kings.


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Tom had the one thing I admire more than anything else in a person, true integrity. A man of his word, he did whatever he committed to do. He was an exemplary family patriarch over 5 children, 16 grandchildren, and 17 great grandchildren. He and Lois were exceptional parents, who produced an exceptional family; and each one of us dearly loves them.

Some of my favorite things about him are:

His laughter
His faith
He honored is wife and taught his sons how to treat their wives.
His love for his country and service in the US Air Force in WWII
He honored his priesthood.
He and Lois served 2 missions for the LDS Church, both in Louisiana
He and Lois were always there for the important events in our life.
He would invite us over and cook his special pancakes

Tom was rarely seen without a Pepsi in hand. Whenever he visited us, he would enlist the help of anyone who could drive to take him down to Tigermart for a Pepsi. From his hospital bed, he sent out for Pepsi. I just can't help but picture him in Heaven, holding a Pepsi.

Our family was lucky enough to travel to Louisiana with him and Lois to see the places they had been and meet people they had befriended. It became increasingly difficult for them to travel, but we were blessed to have them visit us in Texas 4 times. A visit with Tom always had a lot of laughs, lots of stories, lots of love and hugs.


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On the trolley in New Orleans - 2006 / Baseball game in Houston



Some of my favorite times were at Summerdale Campground in Fish Camp, CA. It was our Freeman family tradition to go up every 4th of July and get 3 or 4 campsites and fish and hike and visit by the campfire for several days.

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Summerdale - circa 1977-1980


We even camped there this summer, with our grand babies.
It was special when Tom and Lois drove up for a visit;
there were 4 generations of Freeman campers.

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June 2009



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2009- four generations: Michael, Preston, Thomas, Steve


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Chloe 1997 / Ella 2005


Tom touched so many lives. My sister, Jennifer, sent me an email expressing her feelings about him. I don't think she will mind if I quote her lovely sentiments:


"Tom gave you a gift. He married a good woman, Lois, and raised a wonderful, righteous son that you would fall in love with and who treats you like a queen. That son has been a wonderful husband and father in your own family, and is the best brother-in-law I could ask for. Steve is the man he is, in many ways because of the man Tom taught him to be. What a wonderful gift Tom has given you, and all of us!"


Tom, you will be missed

. . . till we meet again.

We love you


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Thomas Leslie Freeman
December 15, 1924- November 16, 2009


11 comments:

KelleyAnne said...

That was beautiful. You are all in our thoughts and prayers♥

Steve said...

Thank you sweetheart! I love this post. He was a great example of how to live a Christ-like life.

I can't wait for you and kids to join me in Fresno.

Marci said...

So well put! I love that last picture of he and Louis walking together. I fell in love with him instantly when I met him and am so thankful he got to meet all 3 of our kiddos too.

kelley said...

A wonderful tribute...Our thoughts are with your family at this time....

jackie herself said...

thank you for sharing this--it was such a beautiful tribute. i was touched by grandpa freeman's kindness, even in just the few days i got to rub shoulders with him and the rest of your family my last two trips to texas. my thoughts & prayers are with you & your family right now.

Zach O. said...

well this post just tugs at my heart. the freeman family is definitely there and in my prayers too. i'm so glad he came down for the wedding and that i could meet him...any man who likes a cold pepsi and who serves the Lord and this country is my kind of man. my life has been touched by him through the family he helped raise, i couldn't agree with your sister more. times like these make me appreciate even more God's plan...and that knowledge is what carries us through them. very nice tribute. wish i could be there with y'all but i'm behind y'all all the way.

Brittany said...

This post surely made me cry. I love yours and Jenny's tributes. Grandpa certainly has left a legacy with how much he loved people, life and the gospel. We will all miss him terribly.

michele cabiness said...

Grandpa's love for his family, his love for Grandma, and his Integrity........those three things are what made him so great in my eyes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We will miss him dearly.

The Chrissy Herself said...

When I first read this, I cried too hard to leave a comment... But I don't know what to say other than I will miss my Grandpa a lot. And I will try very hard to be the best person I can be so his legacy will continue.

Jennifer Gibbs Kambourian said...

What a special man! Thank you for sharing those wonderful photos and memories of him. Your tribute to him is beautiful and makes me teary, but so thankful I am part of this family, and all of the many wonderful people I'm connected to through it.

LaRee said...

This was a touching tribute to Dad!...During his time in the hospital there was a steady stream of visitors, dad was loved by many...I believe the lord needed a strong missionary on the other side. Dad will certainly fill those shoes...Hope he can find a "Big Gulp" somewhere up there!

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I married my high school sweetheart 34 years ago in the LDS Temple. I have 4 children (3 married, and a 14 year old) and 6 grandchildren. I lived my entire life in California, until 6 years ago. I now reside in San Antonio, Texas. The most important thing to me is my family; I have invested the most in them and it has paid great dividends. I love doing anything creative that beautifies my surroundings and I love nature. I minored in Art and majored in Interior Design at BYU, yet, my profession is a Tax Preparer.

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